Newcastle country star Grayson presses play on next album

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By , 17/12/2018 16:22

NEW PHASE: Grayson started recording his fifth album Window Dreams last week.GRAYSON jokes his baby son Hunter had visited 14 US states by the time he was 10 weeks old.That’s the life of a travelling musician, come family man.

Ten months ago Grayson, aka Newcastle country musician Michael Edser, and his Gunnedah bred-wife Brianna (nee MacKellar) welcomed their first baby in Nashville.

“It’s the best thing in the world and also the hardest thing in the world,” Grayson tellsWeekenderfrom Nashville.

“We literally didn’t have time to record with touring and not sleeping with a brand new baby.”

It meant plans for Grayson’s long-awaited fifth album were postponed. Finally last week he pressed play onWindow Dreams, which is expected to be released later this year.

“It’ll be a bit different to the last couple of songs I’ve released,” he says.“A little more stripped back and a little more real.”

Window Dreamswill feature nine tracks that Grayson wrote with American country star Jeff Wood, who has previously written songs for Neal McCoyandPhil Vassar.

In the meantime, Grayson has given fans a sugarypop single that is unashamedly written for US country commercialradio, much like his previous single10-9-8-7that topped theUSNew Music Weekly Country Charts in 2016.

Margaritawas inspired by a three-day hangover that refused to dissipate.The culprit? Taco Tuesday and a lot of tequila-packed margaritas.

“Every Tuesday night I go out for Taco Tuesday, I eat tacos and drink a shitload of margaritas,” Grayson says.“The wife hates it, as every Wednesday I’m hungover as all hell.”

Over the summer Grayson returned to Newcastle to introduce Hunter to his family, play shows and filmMargarita’svideo clip at Redhead and Dudley beaches.

Grayson loved the experience of returning to the beaches where he first learnt to surf, but it created some curious scenes for locals who didn’t realise a country music video was beginning filmed.

Grayson – Margarita“We used drones, which are a great technology, and the guys who manned them werein the bushes,” he says.“So I must have looked like an absolute tool standing on the beach with no cameras around.

“People would have been thinking, ‘what the hell is this guydoing, it’s 5.30 in the morning and he’s singing to himself’. The end product is good and it’s worth the embarrassment.”

Over the past six months Grayson has watched with pride as his“gym buddy” and fellow Novocastrian Morgan Evans hasbecome a breakout country pop-star with his singleKiss Somebody.

“He actually stayed on our couch for the first month he lived over here,” Grayson says.“I went to his wedding in Mexico last year with [US country star]Kelsea [Ballerini], so as a friend, a mentor, and a fellow musician it’s awesome that he’s kicking goals, because nobody works as hard as him.”

Grayson has also been workinghard to crack the lucrative Nashville scene. Since 2011, in fact. But as a new father he admitshis career aspirations are beingre-evaluated.

“If you’re serious about your career you’ve got to be here,” he says.“We’ll see how this album goes and Hunter is only 10 months old. The way the world is going right now I don’t want him growing up in schools here, there’s scary stuff happening.

“The next couple of years are make or break, regardless of whether I’m kicking goals, I’d love to come back home.

“I’m a proud Novocastrian and always will be. It’s the best and worst part of my job in that I don’t know what’s next.”

A beached cow shows the extent of flood damage to farming, says Bob Katter

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By , 17/12/2018 16:22

Bob Katter MP, Shane Knuth MP, with Mission Beach Surf Life Saving Club members Dyana Brown and Shane Gee with the cow carcass. Photo credit – Anne Pleash.INDEPENDENT federal Queensland MP Bob Katter and his party’s state MP Shane Knuth say a cow thatdiscovered washed ashore at Mission Beach provides a graphic illustration of the damage done by recent flood waters.

“We’ll never know the full damage but I’d say it’s around $20 million worth when you tally up crops, stock losses, property damage, machinery etc,” Mr Katter said in a statement today.

“We can’t stop them but in the instance of little ones (floods) where if we’d been able to take away a foot or more by going ahead with the North Johnston Transfer it would have helped prevent a lot of damage.”

The recent flooding in North Queensland due to torrential rain saw the worst conditions experienced since the 2010 floods which caused billions of dollars in damage and resulted in the federal government introducing a flood-levy to aid relief efforts.

An area between Townsville and Cairns was declared a disaster zone by the state government due to the recent flooding event, with sugar cane and banana crops caught up in the damage, as well as emergency evacuations.

Farmers have suffered heavy losses due to flooded paddocks and crops – but on Friday AgForce said a few days of good falls are not enough to break a drought that had lasted more than half a decade in many parts of the state.

AgForce North Queensland Regional President Russell Lethbridge said many regional and rural communities were still doing it very tough.

“The prolonged drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland, with more than two-thirds of the state still drought declared,” he said.

“The recent rain has certainly bought a smile to many faces in rural and regional Queensland, but it has been very patchy and it should not be forgotten that many regions in the west were first drought declared back in early to mid-2013, so it’s a long road to recovery.

“The ongoing nature of this drought has overwhelmed even the best efforts of producers to prepare and has been compounded by other challenges such as the kneejerk live export ban in 2011 and continued uncertainty around vegetation management regulations.

“The drought assistance and support measures provided by the State and Federal Governments are very welcome, but are really designed to assist people through a drought that lasts two to three years, whereas many producers are now facing their sixth year with severe rainfall deficits.”

Farm Online

Chinan order surprised by allegations against Chinan-ordained priest in Papua New Guinea

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By , 17/12/2018 16:22

Investigation: Papua New Guinea Vincentian Bishop Rolando Santos and n-ordained priest Neil Lams in PNG where police have investigated “touching” allegations against Father Lams.

THE head of the Vincentians order in said he had no control over an n-ordained Vincentian priest under police investigation for “touching” allegations in Papua New Guinea.

Vincentians Oceania head Father Greg Brett said he was unaware of the police investigation because Father Neil Lams was under the control of the bishops of Papua New Guinea, and not the Vincentians. He had been assured by a PNG bishop that two church investigations relating to Father Lams had been finalised in the priest’s favour. Father Lams was ordained in in 2011 and volunteered to work in Vincentian missions after two years.

Father Brett said he was advised he would receive a church investigation report but by Wednesday had not received it. A copy of an interim investigation report was supplied to the Newcastle Herald by Alotau Bishop Rolando Santos in September.

The interim report confirmed at least two teenage students at a school “frequented” the priest’s nearby home, but it found there was no sexual abuse. The interim church investigation report found the priest’s “slapping the cheeks or laps” of students during confession was “inappropriate”.

Father Brett said any touching was a breach of the order’s code of conduct and was unacceptable, but he was not aware of the report’s contents.

“The rules of confession are very strong,” he said.

Allegations against Father Lams were reported to Papua New Guinea police in September by Port Stephens woman Wendy Stein after meeting a school delegation during her work in PNG running family planning services sponsored by Rotary.

This week she joined Hunter survivor of Catholic paedophile priest Anthea Halpin, and Hunter survivor advocate Peter Gogarty, in calling on the n Catholic Church leadership to take responsibility for the legacy issues of decades of transferring priests and religious brothers to overseas missions after child sex allegations in . They have written to the church calling for an audit of all priests and religious sent overseas after n allegations.

Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan said the church had to “deal with” the legacy issues of its overseas transfers and “at the very least, put in place clear policies and procedures to respond to overseas survivors with compassion and justice”.

PNG police commander Andrew Weda on Tuesday said he would meet with investigating police this week to discuss the Father Lams case.

In February the administrator of Milne Bay province in PNG wrote to police investigating allegations against Father Lams instructing them to “ensure that a full investigation has been carried out by the police force who are the mandated agency to ensure that law and order is enforced”.

In his letter administrator Michael Kape confirmed the Division of Education had held a separate investigation into allegations against the priest.

“As much as possible we want to ensure that the children of Milne Bay are being taught in safe and conducive institutions andenvironments,” Mr Kape said.

‘I can’t fail my son’: fighting to stay in school – and in the country

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Sebastian Skrynnik asks his parents most Fridays if he’ll be going to school the next morning.
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“He’s always upset when I tell him no and asks how come he’s not at school,” his mother, Alexandra Pyatetskaya, said.

“It’s such a joy for him – it’s nothing but a pleasure. The holidays are hardest because he’s not learning and achieving and he feels he should be.

“Heloves reading and being with other children and is very protective of the younger kids.”

Butit appeared the cricket-mad six-year-old would never rejoin his year one classmates at Newcastle East Public School.

After a series of misfortunes associated with their visa, Sebastian’s Russian-raised parents have had to apply for a tourist visa, which does not allow them to work. The tourist visa expires in June. Ms Pyatetskaya is sweating on an invitation to apply for the Skilled Independent visa and thena bridging visa.

If that invitation doesn’t come soon, the family may have to return to Russia, a terrifying prospect for them.

“I can’t imagine what his (Sebastian’s)reaction would be like going to Russia and settling in, because it will break him,” Ms Pyatetskaya said.

And although Sebastian was born in , he is not a permanent resident and does not have a right to access public education, leaving his parents facing a school bill of $300 a week.

“I was homeschooling him, but the school realised we were still living in zone and asked us whether we would be bringing him back,” Ms Pyatetskaya said.

“I told them we just can’t pay it, we’re barely surviving. He’s an Aussie kid who has no rights and can’t be protected by society, he’s just on his own.”

At the same time, Ms Pyatetskaya’s husband Yury Skrynnik had run into mothers including Meaghan McGregor and lawyer Kath Fielden and explained the family’s situation.

Within less than three hours of Ms Fielden meeting the family on Friday, February 9, she rallied a small group of parents to provide a loan of $2700 to cover Sebastian’s term one fees. Ms McGregor said the Department of Education’s immigration team worked over the weekend to process the paperwork to allow Sebastian to return school on Monday, February 12.

“There is a strong legacy of helping others at Newcastle East Public School, regardless of where they are from,” she said.

Ms McGregor and Ms Fielden are now turning to the wider school community to raise$4500 which will helpthe small group of parents who provided the initial loan, and pay fees for part of term two and other education costs.

“The day I told him he was going back to school he was running around the house screaming ‘I’m free, I’m going back!’” Ms Pyatetskaya said.“He loves the community, but I never thought he would get that kind of love back.

“I was gobsmacked –I can’t express how appreciative we are.Knowing you’ve got the community behind you is life changing. Not just from a financial perspective but mentally knowing you’re not on your own, after all these years trying to push and nothing happening.

“You reach the point where you’re defeated, but now we feel like we can fight.

“As much as we were trying to float on the surface it felt like we were drowning.

“Now we’ve been lifted back up by the community. They’ve given us wings.”

“was the ultimate dream” for both Ms Pyatetskaya and Mr Skrynnik.

After receiving a scholarship as a 15-year-old to attend a school in the United States, Ms Pyatetskaya said she could “never have considered myself living in Russia full time”.

“If something happens to you, you’re on your own,” she said.

“If you don’t have family or money saved, there is nothing that will back you up.

“People are also not allowed to express opinions – you have to keep quiet if you disagree.”

Mr Skrynnik was a professional athlete who competedat the national level in modern pentathlon before suffering a career-ending injury.

The couple met in 2002, saw Mr Skrynnik survive a car crash in 2004 and married in 2007.

Ms Pyatetskaya, a qualified English, French and English as a Second Language teacher,researched a Skilled Independent visa 189, which allows someone to live and work in as a permanent resident.

She realised further study was one way she could boost her required points score.

She arrived in in February, 2010, on a Higher Education Sector visa 573 and enrolled in a Masters of Applied Linguistics, during which she was told it wouldn’t be hard to find a job.Just two weeks later, the points system changed. Ms Pyatetskaya applied for a Postgraduate Research Sector Visa 574 and enrolled in a second degree to gain points, a Masters of Communication Disorders, which was later discontinued and for which she is pursuing Macquarie University for a refund.

Mr Skrynnik, who had visited twice on a tourist visa, joined her in .

They welcomed Sebastian in May, 2011, but full-time work was hard to find.

“We know we’ve got the skills and knowledge to contribute,” she said.

“We’re happy to go where the work is and both of us want to contribute to the community, to be employed and part of society. We were never thinking of not working, but we don’t know how to get through the system to get employed.”

She said she gained limited work in child care and tutoring and was told once she received a teaching accreditation number she’d be considered for employment.

“I was ready to work in any capacity but could hardly find any work with my degree.

“I was hoping I’d get casual employment somewhere [in the Department of Education] to get a foot in the door but was told I was not needed in NSW, which was very very disheartening.

“The Department of Education, the university and TAFE do not sponsor.”

Meanwhile Mr Skrynnik – who had run businesses in both St Petersburg and Moscow – worked on his English, attended free skill-development courses and searched for jobs in his expertise of sports coaching, massage and aqua aerobics.

But even his applications to stock supermarket shelves went unanswered and he relied on occasional work as a manual labourer in gardening and landscaping.

When Ms Pyatetskaya did find a company to sponsor her Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa, it collapsed before it could help her apply for permanent residency.

“We’ve hit rock bottom,” she said. “I did not think permanent residency would be on a silver platter, there are steps and protocol.

“But we’ve followed those – we’ve never had gaps or been here illegally. We were ready mentally and financially but never thought we’d be in a situation where we’re holding on trying to stay, trying not to fall apart.”

She spent the past year studying and sat the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s academic test five times.She passed in October and applied for her Skills Assessment Certificate.She lodged an expression of interest in February to apply for the Skilled Independent visa.

Her temporary work visa ran out in December so she applied for a tourist visa, to June 22. If she receives an invitation to apply for the Skilled Independent visa, she can apply for a bridging visa. But it could take up to two years to receive an invitation.

“If we go offshore and get the invitation to apply you can’t get back in until it’s processed –so you don’t get a bridging visa.”

Ms Pyatetskaya said she is hesitant to bring her son to her native homeland.

“Here he is valued as a person, a learner and a child – it’s unbelievable how people are treating him here because we never got that at home. In Russia if you’re not first at school you’re next to nothing. We are teaching him Russian but he would struggle in school, be picked on and bullied.”

For now, the family is living in two rooms in shared accommodation and have accessed St Vincent de Paul and Grainery Care Centre for assistance with groceries, Soul Cafe for food and op shops for clothing.

Every day they wake hoping for good news.

“I’m pulling my hair out – if in June nothing happens, what do we do?” she asked.

“I’m running low on energy to fight but can’t fail my son. It’s worth trying – I’d never be able to face him and say there was a chance to stay and I never did it. We want him to have the opportunities to succeed and the choices that we never did.”

Donations can be made to ANZ Bank, BSB: 012780 Account: 216425905. Reference “SEB”.

nib appeals to shareholders to grab their share of $2.5 million in unclaimed dividends

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Appeal: NIB chief executive officer Mark Fitzgibbon. Picture: Marina Neil
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TIME is running out for NIB shareholders to claim their share of close to $2.5 million in dividends before the health insurer gives the jackpot to charity.

In what it says is an n corporate first, the Hunter-founded private health fund has changed its constitution to allow unclaimed dividends to be transferred to nib foundation, which helps charities to deliver community focused and well-being initiatives.

Unclaimed dividends werepreviously transferred to the Office of State Revenue under The Unclaimed Monies Act 1995, but in late 2017 nib shareholders backed the insurer’s move to transfer them to nib foundation.

There are about 9000 shareholders –more than 1400 of them in the Hunter –who have not claimed dividends totalling almost $2.5 million. The average unclaimed pool is $257 but one western Sydneyshareholderis owed $14,600.

If shareholdersdon’t claim what is theirs before August 31, 2018, the monies will be transferred to the foundation.

NIB managing director Mark Fitzgibbon said thefunds had remained unclaimed for a period of five years or more, despite nib’s best efforts to contact shareholders and pay them.

“We’ve worked hard to reconnect these shareholders with their unclaimed dividends, including by mail, via advertising in national newspapers, social media campaigns, and if they are a nib policyholder, reminding them when they contact us for a claim or query that they have outstanding dividends,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“We don’t want our shareholders to miss out on what’s owing to them, which is why we’re encouraging anyone who has owned NIB shares to contact us to check if they have dividends that can be claimed,” he said.


Newcastle railway stationreopening to the public in JuneDoctors slam government’s stance on Williamtown chemicalsFlammablecladding, similar to Grenfell Towerinferno, found at John Hunter

GWS not looking beyond first contest

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Emma Swanson says GWS aren’t getting ahead of themselves when it comes to grand final talk.AFLW surprise package Greater Western Sydney refuse to look beyond even the first contest of Friday’s blockbuster against Brisbane, when their grand final hopes go on the line.
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A win over the Lions at Blacktown in Sydney’s west will put the Giants in a strong position to make the final, but won’t guarantee them a spot.

Fourth-placed Adelaide could still pip them for a place on percentage if they have a much bigger win on Sunday away to Collingwood, while a draw between the top two teams, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne, would also shut them out.

All of which could lead to a nerve-shredding weekend for GWS, even if they do beat Brisbane.

“I don’t think it’s an advantage to play on Friday night at all, we just have to wait around a few more days and see what happens.” Giants’ defender Emma Swanson told AAP.

“I haven’t really thought too much about what needs to happen and I can speak on behalf of a lot of the girls, I don’t think anyone’s really too focused on the outcome, even of our game.

“We know that there’s a bunch of things that we need to do right before we get the win, so it’s about focusing, not just on the first quarter, but only the first contest.”

Fifth-placed Brisbane can also make the final, if they win, but need other results to go their way.

Along with reigning premiers Adelaide, GWS have the joint current longest unbeaten streak, with each team winning three of their last four and drawing against each other.

GWS have effectively been playing knockout football for the past month after losing their first two games.

Going into the penultimate round GWS were scheduled to play the top two teams.

They upset ladder leaders Western Bulldogs last week in Canberra and now host Brisbane, who slumped to fifth after a loss to Collingwood.

“I think that’s a good advantage for us,” Swanson said.

“A lot of the girls have said we’re happy that’s in our control and we’re not versing those lower teams and then hoping for outcomes for other teams.”

Worst way to start at an NRL club: Evans

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Kane Evans revealed he felt overwhelmed in his NRL debut for the Parramatta Eels against Penrith.Kane Evans has admitted to being overwhelmed in his first NRL game for Parramatta, describing his Eels debut as the worst way to start with a new club.
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The former Sydney Roosters prop turned in a subdued performance in the Eels’ season-opening loss to Penrith, carrying the ball for 56 metres in a 24-minute stint off the bench.

While all the attention was on Jarryd Hayne’s return, Evans candidly revealed how he had to deal with some mental demons before and during the match.

“I think the build-up got to me. Physically I prepared the best I could (but) just mentally, I cooked myself,” Evans said on Thursday.

“I could see myself in the review just out there running around in my own mind, rather than just being in the moment and doing what I do. (I was) over-complicating stuff.”

The 26-year-old said he thought he had already overcome some of the mental hurdles that younger players would have to deal with at the beginning of their careers.

But he conceded entering game day against the Panthers with plenty of “head noise”, and hinted at meeting with renowned peak performance manager Joe Wehbe for some help.

Evans identified Wehbe as the man behind the Warriors’ breathing exercises following tries in their first match of the season in Perth.

“I’m pretty sure they do some work with Joe Wehbe. He’s done some work here and at the Roosters. He’s all about that staying in the moment, breathing,” Evans said.

“I actually used some of his techniques earlier so I might give him a call and see what’s doing.

“I think it’s easy with everything that’s going on in life – footy, family, it’s my debut for the club. You can get caught up in it and players do go through that, especially young players.

“But I thought I’d be over that by now. It’s just a little lesson. I’ve learnt from that now.”

Evans remains confident he can improve in Sunday’s clash with Manly.

“Obviously it can’t go worse than last week. That’s the worst start you could get at a new club. For me, I’m confident and still preparing,” he said.

“Especially coming to a new club, you want to earn the respect of your peers. But after that game, I don’t think I did. I’ve got to pull my head in and this is the week to have a crack.”

Rebels planning to run tired Tahs ragged

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By , 18/06/2019 11:16

Marika Koroibete will be one of the players the Rebels will rely on to finish well against NSW.The Melbourne Rebels are planning to run the Waratahs ragged before a second half ambush by their bench as they look to keep their unbeaten start alive in their Super Rugby clash on Sunday.
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The Rebels will go into the Allianz Stadium match fresh on the back of a 10-day turnaround while NSW are regrouping after the long-haul slog to South Africa and Argentina.

After battering NSW early on through back-row beasts Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani, the Rebels are counting on hard-running Wallabies Marika Koroibete and Richard Hardwick coming off the bench to be equally as damaging.

Melbourne coach Dave Wessels said he believed his reserves were almost more important than his starters in terms of their game plan.

“If we can create some fatigue in the early part of the game we can come on and up the tempo toward the back-end with some pretty handy players,” Wessels said on Thursday.

“If we do that effectively we feel like we can get over the top of a lot of teams in the back-end of games.

“The strength of our bench is a big part of our plan as we have some special individual players and it would be silly if we didn’t use that strategically.

“Whoever’s on the bench plays almost a more important role than the guys who are starting.”

Despite the Waratahs’ indifferent start to the season, Wessels sees the Sydney match as the toughest of the n conference.

He said his team wanted to make a statement by taking their impressive form against the Brumbies on the road.

“This will be our biggest test – the Waratahs have got a lot of ‘s best players so we’re going to play really well,” Wessels said.

“They will be disappointed by the way they played overseas so it’s going to be a step up for us.”

While the Waratahs welcome back Test players Sekope Kepu and Rob Simmons to bolster their set piece, Rebels captain Adam Coleman has recovered from a sternum injury to play.

Melbourne have some concern about hooker Jordan Uelese, who tweaked his hamstring at training this week, but are hopeful he will be available.

The Ark of the Covenant is a mythical artefact from the ancient world

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By , 18/05/2019 14:44

Myths and legends from ancient times Mythical: The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, painted in 1890, is in the Art Gallery of NSW collection.
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Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant by Benjamin West, 1800.

Indiana Jones with the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

TweetFacebook Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones races against theNazis to find another mythical object from the ancientworld – the Ark of the Covenant.

In the film, the Nazis believed that if they acquired the ark, their armies wouldbecome invincible.

The Ark of the Covenant is one subject to be examinedin Newcastle on Monday at alecturetitled, Abyssinia – 3000 Years of Ethiopian Art and History.

Some believe the ark made its way to Ethiopia.

Ancient Hebrews were saidto have built the ark about3000 years agoto store the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written.

TheBook of Exodus described the ark as being a gold-covered wooden chest.

The Ethiopian church claims to possess the original ark, which it keeps under guard.

Christopher Bradley will give Monday’s lecture at the Hunter School of the Performing Arts at 6.30pm.

Hespecialises in the history and art of the Islamic world. He’s a writer and photographer, who has published a dozen travel guidebooks about the Middle East and North Africa.

He’ll also talk about thestriking images in the Kebra Nagast, aholy book,whichdescribeshow the ark supposedly came to Ethiopia.

It also chronicles a fabled biblical meeting betweenthe Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and the Jewish King Solomon.

The event will be run by the Newcastle branch of the n Decorative & Fine Arts Societies.For bookings, email [email protected]苏州模特佳丽招聘.au or phone 0455-333-021.

Man V Tank’s strongest man,Gosford’sEddie Williams, will attempt to pull an 8-tonne army tank in Melbourne on Saturday.

Gosford strongman Eddie Williams.

Eddie, the reigning champion of ‘sannualstrongmancontest,will be up against a dozen of the world’s strongest men.

A Guinness world record will be on the line for the fastest time to pull a tank over 10 metres.

Alexander de Giorgio, a World of Tanks director, said the event would show “the true power of man versus tank”.

The event,part ofArnold ProStrongman, will be held ata festival founded by –you guessed it – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“We have hadtruck-pull events in the past, but this is the first ever tank-pull event, so it will certainly be one to watch,” said Tony Doherty, the festival organiser and Arnold’sbusiness partner.

Hunter homeless numbers on the rise according to census

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By , 18/05/2019 14:44

DETAILED information released this week from the 2016 census has thrown a light on the state of homelessness in our community, and in more broadly.
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According to the n Bureau of Statistics, more than 116,400 people were classified as homeless on census night, an increase of about 14,000 on the 2011 figures, which were up by a similar amount on the 2006 census.

In the Hunter region, the number of homeless on census night totalled 1747, an increase of about 12 per cent on the 2011 figure. The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie total was 1208, up from 1068 in 2011. In relative terms, the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie figures were in line with the national rate, with about one person in 200 defined as homeless.

The figures do not just include those sleeping rough. They also take inthose living in supported accommodation for the homeless, those staying temporarily with others, those in boarding houses, temporary lodgings and “severely” crowded lodgings.

But regardless of the finer points of each person’s form of shelter, the reality is that for this slice of the population, many of the everyday things that the vast majority of us take for granted are effectively out of reach.

As the ABS says in a release accompanying the data, homelessness is more than a shortage of houses, with domestic violence, a shortage of affordable housing, unemployment, mental illness, family breakdown and drug-and-alcohol abuse all contributing to the situation.

What this means, effectively, is that homelessness is very often a symptom of other difficulties, as well as an issue to be tackled by itself.

To this end,Compass Housing Services,set up more than 30 years ago in Newcastle, has grown to manage more than 4400 properties across NSW, Queensland and New Zealand.

Former UK academic David Adamson, an emeritus professor with the University of NSWwho joined Compass in 2015, says it’s astounding that does not have a national plan for homelessness. Credited with some notable successes on housing and poverty in the UK, Professor Adamson says we need evidence-based policies in order to counter thisgrowing problem. For a nation as wealthy as , an increasing rate of homelessness is another sign of a society typified by growing inequality.

ISSUE: 38,749.

Injured Cowboy Morgan out of Qld NRL derby

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By , 18/05/2019 14:44

Michael Morgan (right) has been ruled out of the Cowboys’ match against Brisbane.It might have been tempting but North Queensland coach Paul Green has opted not to risk prized playmaker Michael Morgan in Friday night’s NRL blockbuster derby against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
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Morgan was named on an extended bench and looked set to return from an abdominal strain that sidelined him for their round-one win over Cronulla. He had trained on Thursday morning with the Cowboys.

However, the North Queensland five-eighth was a no-show when the team flew out of Townsville for the derby.

Green is fairly confident Morgan will return next week against Melbourne after deciding to keep his match-winner on ice for another week.

“No, Morgo won’t play. At this stage, we don’t want to be taking the risk,” Green said.

“He was pretty close but he hadn’t improved enough so, if he did play tomorrow night, it would have taken him a fair while to get over the game.

“That’s the nature of the injury.

“An injury like this can hang around all season – we want to avoid that if we can.”

Green was confident Te Maire Martin could again step up in the halves alongside Johnathan Thurston after impressing last week in Morgan’s absence.

“Te did a great job. It was the first time he had played alongside Johnno in the halves so that combination will get better and, hopefully, it does tomorrow night,” Green said.

After missing Thurston’s 300th NRL game last round, Morgan will also be sidelined on Friday night for Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein’s 200th top-grade match.

Winterstein debuted in 2009 at Brisbane before linking two years later with the Cowboys.

“We don’t need an excuse to get up for this game,” Green said of the derby.

“(But) I think, deep down, there’s a lot of respect for Antonio in the team and I’m sure the boys would like to repay that with a good performance.

“It’s a huge achievement for anyone to play 200 games in the NRL. It’s a sign of longevity and consistency so it’s a wonderful achievement for him.”

Fyfe motivated to be best player in AFL

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By , 18/05/2019 14:43

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe says he is primed and motivated to return to AFL career-best form.Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe is back in top shape and wants to reclaim the mantle of being the AFL’s best player.
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The superstar midfielder broke his leg during Fremantle’s 2015 preliminary-final loss to Hawthorn, just days before winning the Brownlow Medal.

Another fracture of the same leg restricted Fyfe to just five games in 2016 and had kept him from returning to his explosive best.

But with a full pre-season under his belt, Fyfe is determined to overtake Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield as the league’s best player.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t motivated individually by being the best player I can be and, potentially, being unanimously recognised as the best player does have some real motivation aspects to it,” Fyfe told reporters on Thursday.

“As the captain of a footy club, it takes somewhat of a back seat to getting our team going and really performing as a team.

“But I will acknowledge that it does have some motivational value.”

Despite being below his best last season during his 21 games, Fyfe still managed to place third in Fremantle’s best-and-fairest count.

The 26-year-old’s return to top shape will come as welcome news for Fremantle fans as the Dockers look to improve on last year’s 14th-placed finish.

“I’ve stacked a lot of work of actual high-intensity football, which is different to just running around the boundary line chasing the white line,” Fyfe said.

“I’m fit; I’m seeing the game pretty well at the moment; I’m enjoying working with our young midfielders and our experienced midfielders.

“I’m looking forward to what the year can bring.”

Entering their third season of a rebuild under coach Ross Lyon, Fremantle have added handy recruits Nathan Wilson and Brandon Matera and promising draftees led by top pick Andrew Brayshaw.

Troubled midfielder Harley Bennell’s future remains clouded, but Fyfe believes the Dockers are primed to again be in finals contention.

“We’re at a point where we’ve invested in youth, we’ve got games into young players and we’ve traded to get experienced players into our team,” Fyfe said.

“Anything is possible for us.”

Short Takes for March 16 2018

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By , 18/05/2019 14:43

MAYBE Save our Rail needs to come back as Save our Rail Seats (“Flipped out”, Herald 15/3). As a semi-regular commuter on the Newcastle to Sydney train I can say that facing forward is better. To the bureaucrats making these decisions: we elect your political bosses and we like the flip seats. To our elected representatives: do your job.
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Andrew Whitbread-Brown,Cardiff HeightsI’m not sure how Darryl Tuckwell (Short Takes 14/3) equates West Tigers defeating the Sydney Roosters with joining a union to defeat the big end of town. However, I do know that the “big end of town” is pouring many millions of dollars into this region at the moment and while they are prepared to continue that, I think we should let them get on with it.

David Stuart,MerewetherI ONLY noticed whilst reading your newspaper yesterday that Stephen Hawking had died on Einstein’s birthday! How do you explain that coincidence scientifically?

Lesley Comerford,New LambtonIN reply to Craig Budden (Short Takes 13/3) who claims the Federal government is creating 30,000 jobs per month:please enlighten the thousands of desperate unemployed in Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide andTasmania as to where these fairy tale avenues of employment are situated.

John William Hill,WilliamtownIN response to John Fear (Letters 15/3), not all of us have the luxury of being able to wander around the Newcastle’s central business district not conducting business. Perhaps, the “business-type people”get annoyed at the leisurely type people for pouring salt into their working wounds.

Stephanie Thompson,HamiltonRELATED: Today’s letters to the editorMYhusband and I had the privilege of knowing Bernie Farrell (“Justice for Bernie”, Herald 13/3). He was a very lovely man, a real gentleman. Bernie also had a good sense of humour. He is sadly missed. Please give yourself up, if not for his family then for the friends that cared for him.

Chris Macdonald,KaruahCORBO at his best(“Driving the rest of us crazy”, Herald 10/3).Haven’t laughed as much for ages.

Scott Bennett,New LambtonWITH the beautification of the Warners Bay foreshore, Lake Macquarie City Council needs to be applauded for the work that’s being done. What would really cap it off is if the immediate shallow waters were dredged of the rubbish and seaweed and replaced with clean sand. The water is only knee-deep for a fair way out, but it needs to be cleaned up.

Neil Meyers,Warners BayPAT Wilson (Letters 13/3): the young ones today don’t need advice guidance or in most trades education. They already know it all. Us tradies with 35 or more years under our belt are just useless, apparently. The one saving grace is Generation Know-It-All probably won’t live to old age with the crap they consume, and they will all go blind from staring at screens all day and night.I think I will have enough work until I am 120.

Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay

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